The Cause of the Earthquake (4.7 mb) and Recent Stress Regime Occurring in Al-Refaei Area, Mesopotamian Plain, August 18th, 2017


  • Ali Ramthan Department of Soil Sciences and Water Resources, College of Agriculture, University of Sumer, Thi Qar, Iraq



Al-Refaei active fault; Stress analysis; Seismicity of Al-Refari area, Al-Nasiriya; Iraq


Al-Refaei area is considered one of the highest seismically activity in the Mesopotamian Plain according to its seismic history. Depending on the International seismological Center, four seismic swarms were diagnosed in this area; these are: August 2004, January 2013, May-Jun 2017, and August 2017. Based on three focal mechanism solutions of magnitude greater than 4 mb, the stresses in the area were analysed. The results of focal mechanisms suggest that the faults movements in the study area show reverse movements, which is generated by compression force. To determine the directions of principal stress axes that affecting the faults in the area, the Rotational Optimization method were used. The directions of the three stress axes are: 02°/32°, 10°/302°, and 80°/136° for σ1, σ2, and σ3, respectively. The collision between the Arabian and Iranian plates is the main cause of seismic activity in Al-Refaei area. Therefore, Al-Refaei active fault is responsible for most the earthquakes in the area, and responsible for the earthquake that occurred in August 18th, 2017.